Kate Hale, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar | Institute of Northern Engineering | University of Alaska Fairbanks

Zooming in from the global scale to Colorado Front Range as I present "Water Towers of the West" in the CU-Boulder Fiske Planetarium. Photo credit: Nick Edwards

Sharing snow and stretching scope

Strengthening my knowledge as a hydrologist and researcher has increased my desire to teach and communicate to a broader community. Knowledge is most powerful when shared, and there is nothing more satisfying than enabling more relationships with water, watching the “ah-ha” moment as another sees the importance of the subject, at local, regional and global levels. I have given labs and lectures, most recently giving a keynote presentation at the university planetarium, speaking to the public about our global water towers through 8000 x 8000 360o pixel media. 

Importantly, I find it imperative to communicate knowledge outside of one's scientific expertise, to evaluate the academic platform and examine its leadership, community, components and underlying ethics. With an aim of growth and stretching individual and collective scope, I have doubled my resolve to make science a more inclusive space for all. 

NASA SnowEx Campaign: Field Efforts on the North Slope of Alaska

SnowEx efforts focused on the tundra and boreal forest biomes in 2022 and 2023, with an October 2022 effort centered on evaluating early season snowpack and ground conditions in Alaska and on providing a comparative effort for the larger March 2023 effort. During these field campaigns, I joined the North Slope team to collect snow pit profile measurements and deploy ground-based remote sensing techniques. At the same time, I assisted the NASA and SnowEd outreach groups with real-time updates from the Toolik Field Station. You can watch all 5 episodes of this mini-series here.

New York Times

As I include a focus on snow hydrology in the northeastern United States, I was interviewed and quoted in the New York Times regarding the University of Vermont's work in the Green Mountains and the concerning fate of the snowpack under current and future climate conditions.

NASA SnowEx Campaign: Community Snow Observations

As a time-series lead for the regional Niwot Ridge, CO site and a team member of the SnowEx intensive field efforts from snow seasons 2017 and 2023, I have spent significant time communicating our science to the surrounding community, encouraging interested undergraduates, local residents, and school groups to get involved. 

Click here to see the entire WiSE leadership team. Photo credit: Nick Edwards

Women in Science and Engineering

As the former president of the CU-Boulder Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) group, I am committed to working with leadership teams across universities and institutes to fulfill the WiSE mission: providing coaching, mentorship and a platform for discussion, networking and support to encourage and inspire women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields throughout their professional careers. With CU-WiSE, I facilitated monthly seminars (highlighted topics include: how to be an ally, climate strike storytelling, CV and resume workshop, Actionable Steps Toward Equity in STEM), K-12 outreach events, a mentorship program, semesterly content club (topics include: intersectional feminism, anti-racism) and the annual Science Communication Symposium. WiSE grew to include over 400 members, led by a passionate team of ~10 volunteers, creating opportunities for women and other underrepresented groups. These efforts were coupled with a strong emphasis on science communication toward a general audience: giving jargon-free elevator pitches to become better, well-rounded scientists. This is an effort I plan to continue making as I progress to new universities and institutes and continue my career as a woman in snow hydrology.

CU-Boulder Snow Internship

I have led the hands-on component of the CU-Boulder Undergrad Snow Internship Program for the past 4 snow seasons. The CU-Boulder Geography department has been hosting undergraduates at the CU Mountain Research Station for over 20 years. The long-term data collected through this program has helped drive published papers through continuous collection of snowpack data. While creating relationships with the snow interns, we have developed projects showcased in the annual CU-Boulder Hydrologic Sciences Symposium, Museum of Boulder, CU-Science Discovery programs, and honors theses. This program has been one of the most rewarding for me, finding natural energy to share the subject of snow to cohorts of engaged students, particularly in the field, and, in turn, learn from them as they begin to explore their own science questions.

Reviewing snow pit protocals with two snow interns on the Saddle Catchment at Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research site. Photo credit: Nick Edwards